Having seen off tournament favourites Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, Liverpool will be the favourites as they head into a Europa League semi-final match up with Villarreal. A dramatic 5-4 aggregate result against the German giants means that Jurgen Klopp’s men will be full of confidence as they look to go all the way in a competition that would lead to Champions League involvement for next season.
For Villarreal, a strong performance so far in La Liga sees the team currently lying in fourth place, and with a four point gap between themselves and fifth place Celta Vigo, and their own participation in Europe’s greatest competition could already be wrapped up.
The Yellow Submarine have based their success this season on a strong defensive unit, as well as a quick counter-attack. The form of Cedric Bakambu in the second half of the season means that he will certainly be one player that Liverpool will need to keep a close eye on. The DR Congo international has hit 20 goals so far this campaign, having joined from Turkish side Bursaspor in the summer. Bakambu and his team mates at the Estadio El Madrigal are given odds of 7/2 by bookmakers Coral to win this year’s Europa League.
For Liverpool, the likes of Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho have certainly proved their worth in leading the Anfield club to the last four of the competition. Both men found the back of the net against Dortmund and will need to be kept quiet by Mateo Musacchio et al if they are to have any hope of reaching the final.
Liverpool captain Jordon Henderson looks set to miss out on the majority of the remainder of the season and faces a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of Euro 2016. Every England match will be covered by Coral, with England offered Euro 2016 betting odds of 9/1 to win the competition for the first time in their history.
Former Tottenham Hotspur man Roberto Soldado will have a point to prove following his unsuccessful spell in English football. The Spain international has enjoyed mixed fortunes since his return to Villarreal, finding the net just five times to date.
However, his partnership with Bakambu has been a major factor in Villarreal’s successes this season, with the Castellon side reaching the semi-final stage thanks to a convincing 6-3 aggregate score line against Czech outfit Sparta Prague.
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